UPPER MARLBORO, Md – The stepson of a D.C. police detective shot and killed the off-duty officer following a dispute over yard work at their Maryland home in a homicide that was captured on surveillance cameras, police said Tuesday.
Antwan James, 27, a former District of Columbia firefighter, was charged in a warrant with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Detective Joseph Newell, 46, on Monday night at the Upper Marlboro home they shared. A warrant task force was searching for James, who police said fled on foot after the shooting and remained at large at midday Tuesday.
Before the shooting, Newell had asked James to help him with some yard work, and James refused, Assistant Police Chief Kevin Davis told a news conference.
As Newell stood on a stepladder outside his garage while screwing in a light bulb, James approached him from behind and shot him in the back, Davis said. He fell to the driveway, and James stood over Newell and fired several shots, Davis said.
"It was an execution," he said.
The entire incident was captured by surveillance cameras at the home, Davis said, and police have found no motive other than the argument over yard work.
"It's as simple and tragic as that," he said.
James had been living with his stepfather since he was fired from the fire department sometime in the past 18 months, said Davis, who had no details about what led to the firing.
Newell had been with the Metropolitan Police Department since 1989 and investigated dangerous assaults, MPD Assistant Chief Peter Newsham said. Newell was married and had two teenage daughters in addition to his stepchildren, Newsham said.
Online court records from Maryland show James was charged last month with violating his probation on a second-degree assault charge. He also received probation before judgment in an unrelated drunken-driving case, records show.